ATV USE ON THE CHEQUAMEGON-NICOLET NATIONAL FOREST
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Why is this happening? What's different from the old ATV policy?
A: The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest was combined into one
forest in 1998. Each forest had very different ATV policies at that time:
In 2004, the Forest revised its forest management plan. The revised plan
contains a consistent ATV policy for both sides of the Forest:
- No off-road or off trail use allowed (implemented on June 14, 2004).
- New trail construction allowed for up to 100 miles of trail on the Chequamegon
side, and up to 85 total miles on the Nicolet side.
- All roads and trails closed to ATV use unless posted open with signs.
- All trails and Forest Service roads will be closed to ATV's every year
from March 15 through April 30. Township designated roads are still open.
- No Intensive Use ("play areas") allowed on the Forest (Open
26 play area closed on June 14, 2004).
- Emergency closures can be issued locally where resources are being damaged
or abused, or there are safety concerns.
Q: When will all the signs be posted? What do they look like?
A: On the Chequamegon side of the Forest, all signs
on roads and trails open to ATV use will be posted by May 1, 2006. Generally,
the signs will be placed in the ditch to the right
of the main intersection. These signs are 4 to 5 feet above the ground.
The ATV symbol is an 8 inch by 8 inch brown plastic sign.
The Forest Road number appears above the ATV symbol.
At the present time, there are no Forest Service designated trails or
roads on the Nicolet side of the forest. We have started to develop an
implementation process for opening trails and roads to ATV use.
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Q: What is an emergency closure and why is it used?
A: An emergency closure, usually called a "Forest Supervisor
Closure Order", is issued when a specific area is experiencing severe
damage and/or threatening the health of the natural resources. It can
also be issued if there is a threat to human safety. The Closure Order
allows the District Ranger to take quick action to protect resources and
the public without conducting lengthy analysis first. The Forest makes
every effort to notify the public when an order has been issued. Signs
warning of the closure are also posted in the area.
Most closures are temporary, giving the District Ranger time to conduct
the proper environmental analysis to determine the extent of damages and
the types of activities that may be needed to rehabilitate the site. The
analysis may also determine if and when the area can be opened for use
again. The public would be involved in any future decisions to open or
Q: How do I tell where I can legally drive my ATV on Forest Service
A: All Forest Service roads open to ATV use will be posted with
signs as described above. Also, maps containing information on areas open
to ATV use can also be obtained at Ranger District Offices.
Q: How can I tell if I'm riding my ATV on an open township
The State of Wisconsin requires all townships to post any roads that are
open to ATV use. These signs are usually green, but can vary by township.
It is the user's responsibility to contact the townships to determine
which roads are open and what types of signs are used.
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Q: Is there a map available? What's on it? Where can
I get one?
A: On-line Maps:
Great Divide District
Medford-Park Falls - Medford land
Medford-Park Falls - Park Falls
Black and white maps are available for Great Divide District (Glidden-Hayward
areas), and the Washburn District (Washburn area). There are separate
land base maps for the Medford area and the Park Falls area. All maps
are available at each Ranger District office. They range in size from
22 by 28 inches to 34 by 36 inches. The maps display cities; U.S., State
and County Highways; Town gas tax roads Forest roads open to ATV use;
Forest trails open to ATV use; county boundaries; township names and boundaries;
forest boundaries; rivers; lakes; National Forest ownership; other ownership;
non-motorized areas and Wilderness areas. Smaller versions of the maps
will be on the Chequamegon-Nicolet's web site. NOTE: The map does not
display township roads open to ATV use. It is the responsibility of the
users to contact townships for information regarding ATV use on these
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Q: What about future ATV opportunities on the forest? Will other areas
be closed? Will new ones be open? How can I become involved?
A: Decisions to open new ATV areas or close existing ones will
be based on public input, resource protection, maintenance requirements,
and an overall transportation analysis of the area showing both administrative
and public needs for specific roads. The public will be contacted at the
onset of these projects and throughout the process as we begin identifying
specific changes to the current status of roads on the forest. Anyone
interested in becoming involved in this process should contact the local
district office and request to be placed on the mailing list to receive
information on upcoming projects.
Q: Who can I contact for more information?
Forest-wide information (not area specific)
Phil Barker, Recreation Program Manager - 715-362-1373 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
District information (area specific)
Medford-Park Falls area: Jake Lubera, Assistant Ranger, Recreation - 715-762-2461
Great Divide (Glidden-Hayward area): Jim Hong, Assistant Ranger, Recreation
- 715-634-4821, ext. 326 (email@example.com)
Washburn area: Teresa Maday, Assistant Ranger, Recreation - 715-373-2667,
ext. 247 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For information on designated ATV trail systems, visit our Trails
and Tours Page.
Department of Natural Resources administers ATV registration, safety
courses, and other information. The site also includes descriptions
of state-designated ATV trails by county.
LIGHTLY while you're out there!!!